Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has reacted to the outrage over his comment about Fulani herdsmen carrying AK-47 rifles for self defence.
“It is incumbent on all those criticising him to admonish those governors whose lack of restraint is responsible for the escalation of this crisis”, his spokesman, Mukhtar Gidado, said in a statement on Sunday.
He quoted Mohammed as stressing that it would be inappropriate to label an entire tribe as criminals based on the crimes of a few members of the ethnic group.
Gidado said the governor’s reference to AK-47 was simply to put in perspective the predicament and desperation of those law-abiding Fulani herdsmen..
He said some of them had become victims of cattle rustling, banditry, kidnapping and assassination.
On Mohammed’s description of forests as “no man’s land”, Gidado called it the Governor’s carry-over from his own geo-political environment where a pastoralist could set up camp in any forest without causing any uproar.
“To interpret such a temporary stay as a form of ‘land grab’ by the Fulani herdsmen is completely incorrect.
“Mohammed is very familiar with the Land Use Act, including the criteria for land acquisition and cannot, therefore, seek to undermine the statute which, as governor, he has sworn to uphold,” Gidado added.